As we reported last month, sales of Condé Nast magazines rose a whopping 268% with the arrival of Apple’s Newsstand app in iOS5. The publisher, which is behind popular titles such as Wired and the New Yorker, announced that, starting today, it will no longer charge print subscribers to access the iPad apps.
Since their inclusion in Newsstand, iPad issue sales have increased for GQ 94%, Wired 169% and Vanity Fair 245%, according to Condé Nast.
Condé Nast is optimistic that this growth will continue. According to Jamie Jouning, Digital Director of Condé Nast Britain, “Our existing readers will benefit from the ease of access to subscribe, while the prominent inclusion of our brands in Newsstand will allow an even higher level of ‘discoverability’. Ultimately this should lead to greater subscription growth.”
Newsstand aims to make keeping up with magazine and news reading easier on subscribers since it automatically updates as soon as a new issue is published. The appeal is easy to see, since a subtle weekly iPad notification is less unwieldy than a stack of unread New Yorkers littering ones coffee table.
How readers will respond to digital magazines over time is still an open question. While it is encouraging to see positive sales figures for an industry that has been struggling, we don’t yet know if Newsstand will reinvigorate magazine and newspaper publishing for the long haul. According to a recent survey by the Pew’s Project For Excellence in Journalism, consumers who turned to the iPad for news were hesitant to pay for content, so it seems like a wise move on Condé Nast’s part to allow print subscribers to have iPad access for free.
Do you prefer to read print magazines, or have you taken to newsstand without a second thought? Let us know in the comments.